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CNN Live Event/Special

Biden Makes Case for More U.S. Aid to Ukraine, Israel; Israel Arrests 'Terror Operatives' in West Bank; Pentagon: U.S. Ship Shot down Missiles, Drones Near Yemen; U.S. Releases More Information about Gaza Hospital Blast; Biden Makes Case for More Aid to Israel, Ukraine; Support for Palestinians Grows Across Arab World; Groups Call for U.K. to Stop Arms Sales to Israel; Trump Attorney Sidney Powell Pleads Guilty and Cuts Deal. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 20, 2023 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, I'm John Vause at the CNN Center in Atlanta. It's just gone midnight here on the East Coast.


We begin with a rare national address from the Oval Office by the U.S. president, who's urged all Americans to stand firm with both Israel and Ukraine, arguing that economic and military assistance to both countries is vital to global stability and U.S. national security.

During his 15-minute-long speech, President Biden said, while Ukraine and Israel face a very different enemy, the threat is the same: annihilation by tyrants and terrorists.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common. They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy, completely annihilate it.


VAUSE: Biden now plans to ask Congress for $18 billion in emergency assistance for Israel, $16 billion for Ukraine. Just a day earlier, President Biden was in Tel Aviv, a dramatic show of support for Israel which also saw a deal to allow humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

Well, for more, CNN's Katie Polglase is live for us this hour from London.

So Katie, the agreement on that humanitarian assistance into Gaza is seen as crucial to winning over lawmakers within Biden's own party, who are very much opposed to helping Israel.

So, what's known on the assistance going into Gaza? What do you know about that? And also, how will the president's speech be received, this call for American leadership around the globe? KATIE POLGLASE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, clearly, this

address from Biden was towards a domestic audience. It's to make very clear that this is a conflict that may be very far from America, but it has a very important role for American security.

America still has a very important role to play on the global stage. Have a listen to what Biden said.


BIDEN: American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances are what keep us Americans safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with. To put all of that at risk, we walk away from Ukraine, we turn our backs on Israel, it's just not worth it.


POLGLASE: Now, one of the reasons he's mentioning Ukraine there is because Ukraine funding from the U.S. has been in doubt. There has been indications in the past couple of months that American public support for funding Ukraine has been waning.

A poll by CNN back in August suggested that 55 percent, over half of Americans, think that Congress should no longer be giving aid to Ukraine.

Now, the situation for Israel is, of course, different. The war is more recent. There has, unfortunately, been a rise in anti-Semitic, Islamophobic attacks in the United States. All of this brings the conflict back home.

But still, public support is very divided. A recent CNN poll found that just 35 percent of Americans think that the U.S. is giving the right level of assistance to Israel. Thirty-six percent are unsure.

This is all a major concern for Biden. And then, of course, there is the question of getting this funding through. There is a leadership vacuum in the House of Representatives, so asking for overall over $100 billion is really quite a big ask.

And really, if you look now at what's happening on the ground in Israel, we're seeing messaging just in the past few hours, really, that this ground invasion may still happen. The IDF is saying they still have the green light to go ahead.

All of this indicates that this war is continuing to escalate, is continuing on. And there is this concern for the Biden administration that it will spread across the region. So further chaos, further violence.

And so this message from Biden to the American people is saying that America's role matters. That this is a question for American security, as well as global security. And this money is an investment and as global events play out, America's interests are protected, as well -- John. VAUSE: Katie, thank you. Katie Polglase there, live for us in London.

The U.S. president was expecting trucks filled with relief supplies to be crossing from Egypt into Gaza in the coming hours. But now, multiple sources tell CNN, the Rafah crossing in the South of Gaza is not expected to open before Saturday.

Right now, with thousands of trucks waiting on the Egyptian side of the border, aid groups including the World Health Organization say the moment the crossing is open, they'll be ready to go.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WHO DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Our trucks are loaded and ready to go. We're working with Egypt and Palestine Red Crescent society is to deliver our supplies into Gaza as soon as the Rafah crossing is open.


VAUSE: Israel has essentially sealed off gas, refusing to allow in supplies of food, water and fuel. Electricity supplies have also been cut and will only be restored once Hamas releases all hostages being held in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

But they do say humanitarian assistance crossing from Egypt will be allowed into the Gaza Strip, providing it reaches civilians and not Hamas.

The U.N. says food stocks could run out in a few days. They'll face a great risk of waterborne illness. Doctors without Borders says the main hospital in Gaza, the Shifa Hospital in Gaza, only has enough fuel to run generators for another 24 hours.

Meantime, the buildup of Israeli troops and tanks continues on the Gaza border. The expectations are growing that a ground incursion is imminent. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defense minister, Yoav Gallant, met with troops along the border with Gaza on Thursday.


YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: There is no forgiveness for this thing. Only total annihilation of Hamas organization, terror infrastructures, everything that has to do with terrorists and whoever sent them. It will take a week. It will take a month. It will take two months until we eliminate them.


VAUSE: CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, reports ahead of any Gaza incursion. Israeli forces are now moving on Hamas targets in the West Bank.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): In Israel's war with Hamas, more than 60 of the terror group's operatives arrested early Thursday in the West Bank. The clock now taking on a far more dangerous phase of the war for the IDF: going into Hamas's heartland, Gaza.

NIR BARKAT, ISRAEL ECONOMY MINISTER: The Israeli government made a decision, gave greenlight to the army: wipe them out. And now it's in the hands of the army.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Israeli politicians are preparing expectations for a long war. And for the first time, hinting at what an end of war may look like.

AVI DICHTER, ISRAELI AGRICULTURAL MINISTER: The Gaza Strip, all along, will have a margin that they will not be able to get in. It will be a fire zone. No matter who are you, you will never be able to come close to the Israeli border.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Dichter, a former head of Israeli security, says what Israel wants is the level of security control they currently have in the West Bank. Complete access on their terms.

DICHTER: Today whenever we have a military problem, in every single place in the West Bank, we are there.

ROBERTSON: So that's what you'll have in Gaza going forward?

DICHTER: Gaza internal security. Remember the Gaza Strip, there is no administration. It has to be built, another administration.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But as these plans take shape, and troops prepare to go into Gaza, airstrikes are triggering international calls for a humanitarian pause to ease civilian suffering. Dichter rejects the need for a pause.

DICHTER: We don't activate against civilians.

ROBERTSON: But there are civilians collateral damage.

DICHTER: In a war -- in a war and -- in a war, "a la guerre, comme la guerre." In a war, we do understand, and unfortunately we have suffered.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): With or without a pause in strikes, 20 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid are expected to enter Gaza from Egypt soon. Against the scale of need, it's a token. Ahead of a possible ground incursion, maybe all that gets through for a while.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Sderot, Israel.


VAUSE: With us now from Tel Aviv is IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus. so thank you for being with us again.

JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESMAN: Thank you for having me. Good morning. VAUSE: Good morning.

During a trip to Southern Israel, the Israel defense minister told troops gathered not far from the Gaza Strip -- this was on Thursday -- that they will soon see the enclave from the inside.

I'm not expecting any details regarding the actual timing of a ground operation into Gaza, but can you explain the process here? Has the IDF been given a greenlight by the government for a ground offensive? And will this decision on timing, will it be made purely by senior military leadership based on conditions on the ground?

CONRICUS: Well, it will be based on many different variables, including the condition on the ground the state of our enemy, the level of readiness of Israeli troops, and various other political and diplomatic considerations.

But the bottom line is that we will commence enhanced operations, and it will be maneuvers at the timing that we see fit and the conditions are ready, and the conditions will be the most favorable for us.

VAUSE: With regards to Gaza, the U.S. president on Wednesday, I think, expected humanitarian assistance to begin arriving across the Rafah border within a few hours on Friday.

So roads around the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt have been badly damaged. So, too, the crossing itself. Both were in need of repair.

Do you have an update on the status of those repairs? Is it done, almost done? Has it started? When do you think these humanitarian assistance will be crossing over from Egypt into Gaza?

CONRICUS: Yes, I definitely hope it does, since the president himself was involved in it. And I think it's an important topic to deal with.


The IDF isn't there on the ground. This is an area controlled by Hamas. The IDF has definitely not struck the area recently. And since it is a sensitive area.

But I know the last time the crossing was supposed to open a few days ago to allow internationals out. Hamas didn't allow the opening. And I have heard some different information about coming from Egypt and Gaza.

Bottom line is, whatever it will be decided by the Israeli cabinet that it is approved, the IDF will facilitate and implement it. It is up to Hamas to open the crossing. And it's up to Egypt to deliver the aid.

We will be monitoring one specific thing: to make sure that this humanitarian aid doesn't reach Hamas.

VAUSE: So just to clarify (ph), right now at this point, Israeli airstrikes around the region of Southern Gaza, around the Rafah crossing area, are they on hold? Or they will be on hold when you get the go-ahead?

CONRICUS: Strikes and the military activity, they continue according to the situation, and according to where Hamas commanders are hiding, according to the different and moving parts of the Hamas military establishment.

So I cannot say what will happen in a next minute. There may be a very important target; there may not be. In any case, whenever the instructions will be given to the IDF, then that will be facilitated, and it will be clear.

VAUSE: To quickly go to the West Bank now, what can you tell us about the security situation right there? There have been reports of a surge in violence there between Israeli soldiers and settlers and Palestinians.

Can you confirm reports of his earlier airstrike on a refugee camp which killed at least a dozen people?

CONRICUS: No, I cannot. And I can say that Hamas has -- we've seen them spend significant efforts trying to cause the incitement and to escalate the situation in Judea and Samaria.

We have responded with quite significant and wide-scale arrests across Judea and Samaria, rounding up many Hamas officials and terrorists in order to preempt any Hamas activity in the area.

We want to keep that area stable. We have enhanced the defense of our communities. And the president's on the road in order to make sure that there's -- the least possible targets available for any type of attack done by Palestinians.

VAUSE: Lieutenant Colonel, thank you for being with us, sir. We appreciate your time.

CONRICUS: Thank you.

VAUSE: The European Commission chief is the latest to warn the Israel- Hamas conflict, if left unchecked, could escalate across the Middle East, Europe, and into the Indo-Pacific.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: We have seen the Arab streets filled with rage all across the region, so the risk of a regional spill over is real. And this is exactly what Hamas was hoping to achieve.


VAUSE: Now Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen may have joined the conflict with the Pentagon reporting the U.S. Navy destroyer in the Red Sea, Southern cruise missiles possibly heading towards Israel. More details now from or neighbor mint or boarding from the Pentagon. A U.S. Navy destroyer operating in the Red Sea has shot down cruise

missiles possibly heading towards Israel. More details now from Oren Liebermann, reporting in from the Pentagon.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: A U.S. Navy destroyer operating in the Red Sea intercepted three cruise missiles and a number of drones that the Pentagon says may have been heading towards Israel. That indicates the potential opening of a new front, or at least a new actor in what the U.S. fears may become a growing and regional conflict.

According to the Pentagon on Thursday, Houthi forces in Yemen -- and it's worth noting that Houthi forces are backed by Iran -- launched the drones and the cruise missiles North along the Red Sea towards Israel.

The USS Carney, a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Red Sea, intercepted those drones, as the Pentagon promised it would continue to defend not only the U.S. but also its interests and its partners.

And this isn't the only region or the only area in the Middle East where we're seeing Iranian-backed proxies potentially targeting U.S. forces. There were a number of drone attacks in Iraq over the course of the past 48 or 72 hours targeting U.S. and coalition forces.

And although the Pentagon hasn't given attribution or said who was responsible, they are similar to attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq carried out by Iranian-backed proxies there.

This as the Biden administration and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are trying to keep the conflict in Gaza from spreading beyond the borders of the coastal enclave and to the rest of the Middle East. We've already seen protests at a number of U.S. embassies in the region.

And now the interception of those drones and cruise missiles in the Red Sea, the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Israeli counterpart, as well as with a number of Arab leaders to make the point first that the U.S. would have Israel's back.

And second, that the U.S. has placed an emphasis on the importance of safeguarding civilians. This, an attempt to try to alleviate, perhaps, some of the tension, some of the anger in the region.

But even as the U.S. has tried to keep this conflict from spreading to the region, that very much seems like a real possibility now.


Oren Liebermann, CNN, at the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Much more to come here on CNN, including an in-depth look at U.S. assessments of what caused a deadly hospital explosion in Gaza City. What we know, and what we don't, in a moment.


VAUSE: U.S. officials have released more information about the deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital earlier this week. Both the U.S. and Israel say the blast was caused by a rocket misfired by militants in Gaza, and not an Israeli air strike.

Hundreds were killed in the explosion, which triggered angry protests across the region.

Here's CNN's Alex Marquardt with a closer look at the intelligence and what it reveals.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have now seen the unclassified intelligence assessment that was put out by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence about the strike at Al-Ahli hospital. Their analysis that U.S. intelligence makes echoes what Israel has been saying, that Israel is not responsible for the strike on the hospital.

Now the U.S. bases that on different intelligence streams. They say that some Palestinian militants suspect that it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another militant group in the Gaza Strip.

And this analysis says a rocket caused limited structural damage at the hospital, but it did kill hundreds of people.


I want to remind everyone, the area that we're talking about. This, of course, is Northern Gaza, the hospital right in the middle of Northern Gaza. The Israeli military has argued that the damage that was done at the hospital is not consistent with one of the strikes from their air force.

They also claim to have intercepted Hamas calls which they say talk about a misfire, by Islamic Jihad. And we cannot, of course, verify those calls.

So what do we know so far? What are we seeing ourselves?

Well, the Israelis have told residents of Northern Gaza to head South so that they are out of harm's way. Now there are a lot of people who can't, or don't want to, because they see what is happening to the Gazans who have left, and they're not faring much better in Southern Gaza.

Now this is the most dramatic video that we have seen so far of the strike on the hospital. There is a loud whoosh, followed by a massive explosion. We have

geolocated the site of this blast to the hospital, but from this clip and the sound that we hear, experts say we can't glean too much about what the projectile is, except that it causes a huge explosion.

Now this video is a key piece of evidence. Just before 7 p.m., Al Jazeera News caught this on a camera that was facing Eastwards. You can see that dot going up into the sky.

We've determined that this is a rocket that was fired from the ground South of Gaza City. It then explodes high above Gaza City, as you can see right there.

CNN's military analyst, Cedric Leighton, says that this is consistent with a malfunctioning rocket. And then, around six seconds later, an explosion was seen on the ground at the hospital. You can see it right there.

Now we can't say that the rocket is related to that explosion. But we have geolocated that explosion on the ground to the hospital.

Now, eyewitnesses describe bodies all over the place, parts of bodies strewn all over. The health ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, claims that almost 500 Gazans were killed in this hospital strike.

This new U.S. intelligence assessment says the number is a bit lower, closer to between one and 300 and on the lower end of that. But it is, of course, as they call it, still a staggering death toll.

And there was this extraordinary press conference at the hospital, doctors surrounded by the dead and the wounded. Now we've also seen all kinds of charred vehicles strewn all over the parking lot. There is damage that has been done to the structures. You can see the windows that have been blown out there.

But none of the buildings have been leveled. You can see this building has been pockmarked. There are belongings that are all over the hospital grounds. Blood that is caked into the sidewalk.

But experts who we've looked -- who we've spoken to looked at this damage say that this does not look like an airstrike. And this is more evidence, they say. This is a crater in new video that we have obtained exclusively, of the crater in the parking lot at the hospital. It appears to be where the projectile struck.

It is, as you can see, relatively small. And again, experts are saying that a crater this size is not what you would see after a missile strike from a jet, or from a drone. It could be, they say, from a smaller rocket.

This is satellite imagery of the hospital, before and after. This is the area that we're talking about. The parking lot in the middle. And this is after it is blackened; it is charred. You can see the remnants of those vehicles.

What you cannot see in this image of the wider area is a major crater. And that's very important. There is nothing visible here that indicates that an airstrike took place.

Since the horrific attacks by Hamas in Israel on October 7, we've seen thousands of Israeli airstrikes all across Gaza like these ones. These -- this is what they usually look like. Flattened buildings, huge craters.

Could Israel have used a smaller munition? Perhaps an artillery shell in the strike at the hospital? It's a question that experts say is not out of the realm of possibility.

But as the U.S. and Israel say, it is unlikely, given what else we've seen and what we know.

So all together, CNN has reviewed dozens of videos posted on social media, aired on live broadcasts, filmed by freelance journalists working in Gaza, which show the blast and its aftermath.

A thorough CNN analysis of that footage suggests that the devastating explosion was not the result of an Israeli airstrike, and several weapons experts say that the visual evidence points to the possibility that it was caused by a rocket.


Now, this does not prove the assertions made by both Israeli and U.S. intelligence, but it is consistent with their claim that the explosion was due to a local rocket misfire.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, in Washington.


VAUSE: Well, just off that wartime trip to Israel, President Biden makes a rare Oval Office address on the need for urgent assistance in Israel, as well as Ukraine, and why they need weapons and ammunition. More now.


VAUSE: Welcome back.

U.S. President Joe Biden says two critical allies, Israel and Ukraine, are in great need of additional U.S. military assistance as they fight their respective wars.

But with now the speaker of the House -- with the House -- with the speaker of Congress [SIC], actually, now yet to be elected, basically Congress has no power to do anything.

So late Thursday, President Biden delivered a national address, explaining why sending more weapons and ammunition to both Israel and Ukraine was vital to America's long-term national security interests.

CNN's Kayla Tausche has our report.


address making the argument that the world is at an inflection point. Democracies against dictators, and that Ukraine and Israel are on the front lines of this war.

He also made the argument that the U.S. needs to continue investing to help Ukraine and Israel win that war. Here's the president.

BIDEN: American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances are what keep us, America, safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with. We put all of that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine, we turn our backs on Israel. It's just not worth it.

TAUSCHE: Biden called it a smart investment that would pay off for generations and also alluded to the fact that it would help keep U.S. troops out of those conflicts and keep the conflicts from widening.


It all comes ahead of the White House asking Congress for roughly $100 billion in new aid to fund these crises. About $60 billion of that would help Ukraine continue defending itself, as Russia's unprovoked invasion nears the two-year mark.

And Israel, as the war with Hamas enters the two-week mark, we'll see about $10 billion from that package.

But there remains to be seen what the path is for that package in Congress, where there's a leadership vacuum in the House of Representatives and very clear consternation among both physical attacks and progressive Democrats about writing blank checks to many of these countries.

The White House is confident that there remains bipartisan support and that there is rough agreement among many lawmakers that the U.S. will end up on the right side of history.

Kayla Tausche, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: David Sanger is a CNN political and national security analyst, as well as "New York Times" White House and national security correspondent. He is with us at this hour from Boston. It's good to see you, David.


VAUSE: Here's a little more for the U.S. president making the case that helping Ukraine and Israel is not just vital to U.S. interests, it's also vital to U.S. global leadership. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: I know we have our divisions at home. We have to get past them. We can't let petty partisan angry politics get in the way of our responsibilities as a great nation. We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin win. I refuse to let that happen. In moments like these, we have to remind -- we have to remember who we are. We're the United States of America.


VAUSE: The problem, it seems, is that the American public see these two conflicts very differently. And over the last, what, almost two years, support for Ukraine has fallen since the early days of the war.

So did the president here make the case that, you know, the public should be put to one side, because everything is politicized these days, and face this together as one nation, as a global leader?

SANGER: He did, but the question is whether that message got through. You know, what struck me, John, is that you have seen the president at his most passionate, when he has been discussing the struggles for Ukraine and preserving its independence, and for Israel and freeing it of the threat of terrorism.

In the Ukraine case, you saw back in what was it, May of 2022, when he said, for God's sake, this man must go, referring to Vladimir Putin.

In the past few days, you've heard it in his comparisons to the Holocaust, the kind of attack that Israel endured on October 7. And I think that on Thursday night, what you heard was an argument that only America can bring order to this kind of chaos. That's been the traditional role for the United States.

The thing is, Joe Biden is of a different generation. He is probably the last American president, certainly the last American president to be born during World War II, probably the last to have really dealt seriously with the Cold War.

His relationship with Israel is so deep and long that he tells stories about talking to Golda Meir in the Israeli prime minister's office. That was 50 years ago.

VAUSE: Well, president also is now reportedly seeking about $10 billion in emergency assistance for Israel and $60 billion for Ukraine. He plans to ask Congress for that on Friday. Here he is.


BIDEN: Tomorrow, I'm going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America's national security needs, to support our critical partners, including Israel and Ukraine.

It's a smart investment that's going to pay dividends for Americans for generations. Help us keep American troops out of harm's way. Help us build a world that is more safer and more peaceful and more prosperous for our children and grandchildren.


VAUSE: This argument that aid to Ukraine is not charity, it's an investment. It's an investment in U.S. security the White House has not made very well over the last 18 months or so.

And how does it all play now -- play out? Will winning (ph) aid for Ukraine, which has become quite political, with aid for Israel, which is mostly a bipartisan issue, does that mean Congress either agrees to both, or what happens, or neither?

SANGER: Well, the president's going to try to package them together, as your question suggests, John. And the theory in that, in the enthusiasm to help out Israel, don't bring Ukraine along and take that awful plate for another year.


The Biden argument is very simple, and it goes back to one that Republicans and Democrats have made, presidents have made back to the beginning of the Cold War era, which is it's a whole lot cheaper to do this now than to pay for a war later.

And if Putin keeps moving toward NATO nations, we would be obligated by the treaties around NATO to go in, and that would be a lot more bloody and a lot more expensive.

But convincing Congress of that when it's so easy to demagogue this by saying, why are we spending the money here and not on the border, as if that was a choice. That's what he's going to run up against.

VAUSE: Well, there was a poll taken by Quinnipiac University on Tuesday. Voters were asked about Biden's handling of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Forty-seven percent approve, 35 percent disapprove. Eight percent have no opinion.

There is also -- he was also asked about his response to the terrorist attack on Israel. Forty-two 37 percent disapprove, 21 percent have no opinion.

Those numbers are, I guess, for Biden pretty good, very strong numbers, especially when it comes to foreign policy. But you touched on this. There is sort of this bigger picture here among a lot of Americans of this growing reluctance for the U.S. to be everywhere all at once to be committed and sorting out the world's problems.

SANGER: You know, it's a fundamental difference of view. Tony Blinken, the secretary of state, has this favorite phrase. He's got it for years. I don't know how many times I've heard him say it.

The world does not organize itself. And so if we need vacuums, it usually gets organized by somebody whose interests are deeply opposed to ours. That might be Russia. That might be China, might be Iran or North Korea, but it's someone we're not going to care for.

So if you want to get a world that is a more pleasant environment for the United States to operate in, you have to invest in that, just as you have to invest in every other relationship.

VAUSE: David, it's good to have you with us. There's a lot of complex issues for the administration here, especially for Biden, because it is a changing and difficult world. It's good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

SANGER: Good to see you.

VAUSE: Israel's near constant airstrikes on Gaza and the following humanitarian crisis is bringing huge crowds onto the streets in the Middle East and elsewhere in support of Palestinians. A report from Jordan in a moment.



VAUSE: The U.S. has issued a worldwide alert advising Americans to be extremely cautious amid protests which have erupted over the Israel- Hamas war. The warning cites increased tensions in various locations and the potential for terrorist attacks. It also points to demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and diplomatic compounds.


MATT MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We're monitoring conditions around the world. We're monitoring conditions in the region. We take a number of factors into consideration when making that determination. It's not necessarily any one thing, but everything that we're watching around the world.


VAUSE: The anger and the outrage continues to spread across the Middle East and around the world, with a growing number of anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian protests.

CNN's Nada Bashir reports now from Jordan.


NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The people demand freedom. It's a decades-old rallying cry, but one that still resonates across the Arab world. Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have ramped up across the Middle East.

A growing movement denouncing Israel's continued aerial bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, which began in response to the Hamas attacks of October 7.

But here in Jordan, the plight of the Palestinian people is an issue which lies at the very heart of the country's identity. More than 50 percent of the country's population is Palestinian or of Palestinian descent. The neighborhood of Baqaa, just outside of Amman is one of several

historic refugee camps established to house Palestinians displaced by the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Halid Arey (ph) has lived here for most of his life and has spent years painting murals depicting the Palestinian experience. Each wall tells the story of the injustice Palestinians here say they have faced for more than 75 years.

BASHIR: This is the symbol of the right to return?

HALID AREY (PH), MURAL ARTIST: Yes, yes. And I still have it.

Outrage over Israel's relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which is home to more than 2 million people, is felt by so many here in Jordan.

BASHIR (voice-over): Outrage over Israel's relentless air strikes from the Gaza Strip, which is home to more than 2 million people, is felt by so many here in Jordan.

Mohamed Qasem has been attending protests in Amman from the outset of this war. It is a movement that has drawn people from across the country, old and young.

MOHAMED QASEM, AMMAN RESIDENT: We know the narrative because we survived it, we lived it. And you know, our grandparents lived it. Our parents lived it. We lived it. We thought we were going to tell stories to our kids, but now they are witnessing it, as well. It's been 75 years. And right now, it's happening all over again.

BASHIR (voice-over): Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have gripped countries across the region, including Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.

Arab leaders, too, have been vocal in their condemnation of Israel's airstrikes on Gaza. And the rapidly rising civilian death toll.

But there is also mounting concern that this war could create a deeper rift between the Arab world and the West.

AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The growing perception on the street as we see this unequivocal, ironclad support for Israel, for Israel in this war. It is a growing perception that this is a Western/Arab Muslim war. This's a place we don't want to get to.

BASHIR (voice-over): But it's not just the Arab world. The outrage and frustration felt in the Middle East is also mirrored in protest taking place further afield, from London to Washington D.C.

As millions across the globe, just like Mohamed and his family, demand an end to Israel's airstrikes, an end to the siege of Gaza, and an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Nada Bashir, CNN, in Amman, Jordan.


VAUSE: In Egypt, a government approved official called for -- a government approved an official called for nationwide protests in the coming hours. Not just for Palestinians in Gaza, but also to support the Egyptian president and his opposition to a million displaced Palestinians being allowed to relocate in Egypt.

This will be the first government-approved mass protest there since President El-Sisi assumed power nearly a decade ago.


Protesters on Wednesday demanded humanitarian aid be allowed into Gaza.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is heading into day two of his trip to the Middle East. He's there to show support for Israel but also to stress the need for humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza.

Israel says its offensive will continue until all the hostages being held by Hamas are set free, after at least 1,400 people were killed in a mass attack in Israel.

CNN's Scott McLean has more now from London.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak touches down in Israel, a public display of support for the country at war.

RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm proud to stand here with you in Israel's darkest hour as your friend. We will stand with you in solidarity. We will stand with your people, and we also want you to win.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Sunak also pushed Israel to allow desperately- needed humanitarian aid into Gaza, and says Palestinians are also victims of Hamas. And he supports Israeli efforts to go after the terror group.

SUNAK: We absolutely support Israel's right to defend itself in line with international law.

MCLEAN (voice-over): But international law is precisely what some say Israel is breaking. That's why a Palestinian rights group and a British legal organization have called on the U.K. to cut off arms sales to Israel.

In a letter to the British trade secretary, they argue that Israel's actions "have starkly demonstrated its flagrant disregard for international law, in clear violation of the prohibition on collective punishment and the prohibition on starvation as a method of warfare."

The U.K. is the second largest defense exporter in the world. Britain also makes 15 percent of the F-35 fighter jet that Israel is using to fight Hamas. But in the last decade, only a modest $620 million worth of arms export licenses were approved for Israel.

The U.K.'s biggest defense recipient, by far, is Saudi Arabia.

In 2020, the Campaign Against Arms Trade lost a court case challenging the government's approval of British arms exports to the kingdom with a long history of humans rights abuses. That same campaign group now also backs cutting Israel off from British weapons.

EMILY APPLE, CAMPAIGN AGAINST ARMS TRADE: It would definitely send a message. It would send a message that a cease-fire is needed. It would send a message that the U.K. will not be complicit in more crimes, that the U.K. will not sit by while civilians are targeted.

MCLEAN: Don't you think that Israel would be left vulnerable if it didn't have access to weapons?

APPLE: Weapons don't make us safer. And Israel needs to take into account civilian lives in any -- that it takes. Israel is clearly not doing this at the moment.

MCLEAN (voice-over): The British Department of Trade told CNN that there "are no immediate plans to stop arms export licenses to Israel," but that "all export licenses are kept under continual review."

That answer has not been good enough for some activists, who rammed a van through a gate at a drone factory in Leicester. Factories Israeli parent company, Elbit Systems, has publicly denied it supplies Israel with drones used in warfare.

During the 2014 war in Gaza, the British government did threaten to suspend some military exports to Israel, though at the moment, there is no indication that Prime Minister Sunak plans to do the same.

Scott McLean, CNN, London.


VAUSE: We'll take a short break, but when we come back, it could be flipping time for a former Trump loyal. Details on Sidney Powell's stunning plea deal in the Georgia election interference case. What that could mean for codefendants like Donald Trump.



VAUSE: Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, if at first, you don't succeed, then try, try and try again. And so it will be in his bid to be elected House speaker.

Jordan lost the first vote on Tuesday, the second vote on Wednesday, notably by a larger margin. Later Friday, he's expected to hold a news conference, ahead of what will be a likely third vote for speaker.

Jordan is bleeding support the longer this drags on and is under growing pressure to drop out, amid some ugly party infighting. Some Republican holdouts, who spent hours in closed-door talks with Jordan, say they've not changed their minds.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We made the pitch to members of the resolution as a way to lower the temperature and get back to work. We decided that wasn't where we're going to go. I'm still running for speaker, and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race.


VAUSE: The U.S. House has now been without a speaker since Kevin McCarthy was ousted more than two weeks ago.

A former Trump campaign lawyer and prominent peddler of conspiracy theories has cut a deal with prosecutors on the eve of her trial. Sidney Powell admits she tried to interfere with the outcome of the 2020 election in Georgia. And she'll now be required to testify truthfully against her codefendants, which includes Donald Trump.

CNN's Paula Reid explains why her guilty plea could have a huge impact.


DASHYA YOUNG, FULTON COUNTY PROSECUTOR: How do you plead to the six counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties?


PAULA REID, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell appeared in a Georgia courtroom this morning, the second person to plead guilty in the sprawling case over efforts to overturn the 2020 election in that state.

YOUNG: Do you understand that by pleading guilty, you are giving up the right to trial by jury?


REID (voice-over): As part of the deal, Powell will admit her role in the January 2021 breach of voting systems in rural Coffee County, Georgia; be required to write an apology letter to the citizens of the state; and pay nearly $9,000 in restitution and fines; as well as turn over documents.

Powell admits to taking steps after the 2020 election for the purpose of willfully tampering with electronic ballot markers and tabulating machines, which were overt acts to affect the objects of the conspiracy and with the intention of taking and appropriating information, data and software, the property of Dominion Voting Systems.

But she is not expected to face jail time. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of six years' probation.


One name that did not come up at Thursday's hearing: her codefendant, Donald Trump. The deal is the first by a member of his inner circle.

POWELL: I'm going to release the kraken.

REID (voice-over): Powell was among the most vocal of his lawyers in pushing outlandish claims about the election, including that millions of votes were flipped in a global scheme against Trump.

POWELL: There should never be another election conducted in this country, I don't care if it's for a local dog catcher, using a Dominion machine.

REID (voice-over): Repeating those conspiracy theories eventually proved too much, even for Trump, and she was ousted from his team.

And her plea raises new questions about a deal in the federal election subversion case. Trump is the only individual charged in that indictment, but Powell has been identified by CNN as one of the six co-conspirators listed by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who has signaled other people could be charged.

JACK SMITH, SPECIAL COUNSEL: The Department of Justice has remained committed to ensuring accountability for those criminally responsible for what happened that day.

REID: That federal trial is expected to begin in March of next year. It's one of the reasons that Powell's plea deal in Georgia is so significant, because now, we're all watching to see what it could mean for that federal trial here in Washington, which could be the only prosecution that Trump faces before the 2024 election.

Now, all eyes are on Kenneth Chesebro, the other defendant who is expected to go on trial this month alongside Powell to see if he, too, will strike a deal with state prosecutors.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington


VAUSE: Thank you for watching. I'm John Vause, back with more news after a very short break. You're watching CNN.